Mangalore, October 20: Under the banner of Tulunadu Rakshana Vedike, residents of Jeppu and Cascia area along with several senior citizens staged a Rasta Roko for about 15 minutes on October 19th, Sunday to save a public ground from being encroached by a builder.
The locals say that, the land was declared as a public land for recreational purposes by its owner Annie Mascarenhas years ago located close by Cascia Church. This land is now illegally encroached by a builder. The protestors played cricket on the road as part of the protest.
President of the Tulunadu Rakshana Vedike Yogish Shetty, said that the fight has just begun and they will ensure that the locals are not deprived of their rights. The Vedike plans to take the issue to the Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner on Monday, October 20th.
He said that none clearly knows when a local resident named Annie Mascarenhas had denied to sell the land to Cascia Church functionaries decades ago and had instead, offered it for public use for free to conduct cultural and sports activities.“I have seen the documents which clearly mentioned that it was a ‘Recreation Land’ for cultural activities when we held a protest four years ago. But now, the papers might have gone missing. You never know,” informed Nishanth, a local.
A senior citizen said, “I started playing cricket on this ground in 1969. We then tied up with the Morgan’s Gate Club. Now, our children play on this ground, the youth hold cultural activities here. This builder has come from nowhere and has encroached the land. What’s shocking is that he has manipulated documents and now we hear that he has got all documents cleared to undertake construction work except a certificate from the Railways. Getting this done is no big deal for him.”
Rathikala, a local Corporator also supported the views of the locals.
The protesters also showed a newspaper copy dated four years ago which published the locals’ first protest against the alleged illegal land encroachment.
Yogish Shetty also said he will apply for the details of the land through the Right to Information Act and trace all possible documents pertaining to the land to prove that the land was gracefully given by Annie Mascarenhas for public use.